Matkalla huipulle



Antti Honkanen, the new director of the MTI, presents himself

Often potential tourism students are asked why they feel tourism is the right career for them. The wrong answer is that they like travelling. That reason is questionable, since as a tourism professional you rarely get to travel yourself, it is tough service industry. When I started my Master’s thesis, I chose a tourism topic for the wrong reason. I liked travelling. That was a while ago.

Before the Master’s thesis I had learned about the tourism industry as a real estate agent selling holiday apartments, working at a museum and living in Spain. Before living in Spain I hated mass tourism and nothing could have made me travel to the sunshine coast in Southern Spain. Seeing the phenomenon close up changed my attitude. Mass tourism in itself is neutral. It may be conducted unsustainably or sustainably, just like any other form of tourism.

After graduation I was offered two research vacancies and I chose the one in tourism. I moved to Eastern Finland. The cultural shock was greater than in Spain. After all, people are not the same everywhere in Finland.

In Savonlinna, at the then University of Joensuu I started writing a doctoral thesis on mass tourism in Southern Spain and participated in an international research project on the seasonality of tourism. The thesis topic changed to a comparative study on the predicted and realized changed in tourism from the mass tourism viewpoint. Seasonality became the theme that I have written several articles on, but nothing too brilliant. I am not the only one. Seasonality is a problem built in the tourism phenomenon and there are no easy solutions to it. Yet it is important to talk about it.

Next I got to experience teaching at the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. In my career and my closest university circles teaching has always been secondary to research. We did not much discuss teaching nor were the pedagogical decisions pondered. At the university of applied sciences I was responsible for tourism teaching in addition to development projects. The curriculum was going through changes and digitalisation was invested in.

In autumn 2008 I noticed that my former employer, the Centre for Tourism Studies at the University of Joensuu was looking for a director for a three-year period. In Savonlinna tourism showed another, different perspective. Companies were mostly small, the Centre’s activities very international. The years of growth in Russian tourism were in full swing. Knowledge on Russian travellers was rather inadequate in the beginning, so both research and education were needed. In 2013 I was involved in a research project which studied the potential impacts of visa free travel. The report also discussed the risks that might affect growth. Yet we did not believe that the risks would materialize as soon as the following year. Hopefully we remember the risks when discussing Chinese tourism. The Chinese are a huge opportunity, however it is worth looking in other directions, too.

Last spring I received a call from a headhunter and in August I found myself in Rovaniemi. I direct an institute that is unique in the world. Three levels of educational institutions together enhance tourism education and research. The first four months have taught me that the competent staff have already accomplished a lot.

Despite some challenges I must say that I have enjoyed every single moment – both in Rovaniemi and at the Multidimensional Tourism Institute.


Wondering along the paths,



Training Material from the project COMBAT Human Trafficking

The objective of the international project COMBAT Human Trafficking is to prevent international human trafficking in tourism industry.

The project was funded with the support of the European Commission and it was conducted by researchers from England, Romania and Finland. The most important target groups are hotels and other accommodation services. The project created a toolkit to Combat Human Trafficking, which was presented at UNWTO in August 2016.

Further information

COMBAT Human trafficking
Aulikki Laitinen-Tolonen, aulikki.laitinen-tolonen(at)
Pekka Iivari, pekka.iivari(at)


"Arctic Rescue Guide" training and virtual learning environment

Arctic Rescue Guide is a joint project of the MTI and Lapland Safaris developing training and a virtual learning environment in English for new guides. The Arctic Rescue Guide training has been developed to enhance search and rescue cooperation between authorities and tourism enterprises. Training consists of short courses, such as the MSO search training developed by the police, snow safety training and a rescue simulation.

Arctic Rescue Guide.jpg
First Arctic Rescue Guides: Hintikka Arto, Joensuu Marja, Karttunen Juho, Karonen Jyrki, Laakso Heikki, Nikula Kimmo, Notko Tanja, Peteri Valtteri, Seurujärvi Markku, Sirkka Ilari, Teljonsuo Päivi, Turunen Eerik, Vaajala Tatu, and Väisänen Kirsi. Tomi Kuosmanen, Jouko Tiirola and Ari Seppälä handed ARG-Badges to new Rescue Guides.

Further information
Arctic Rescue Guide training
Eija Raasakka, eija.raasakka(at)


Apply now to Master's Degree Programme in Tourism, Culture and International Management (TourCIM)!

The two-year Master’s programme Tourism, Culture and International Management (TourCIM) provides opportunities to gain knowledge and education in international business and international management as well as cultural experience and heritage, tourism being seen as a modern link between them. The studies take place in English in a multicultural student group. Read more about student experiences in TourCIM.

Application period to TourCIM Master’s Degree Programme 1.12.2016 - 31.1.2017. Read more.


The Arctic Safety Cluster was awarded European Cluster Excellence Initiative Bronze Label Certificate

The MTI coordinates the provincial Arctic Safety Cluster, which is part of Lapland’s Arctic Specialisation Programme. The safety cluster includes four themes: Tourism Safety, Civil Safety, Safety in a Mining Environment and Maritime Safety. The objective is to develop enterprises and to enhance the internationalization of and the cooperation between and research and development organizations and enterprises.

Cluster Management Excellence.jpg

Further information

Eila Linna, eila.linna(at), tel. 040 735 5300



A list of MTI publications can be found here.



Next MTI alumni event is organized on Thursday, 30 March 2017, with the theme: Brand yourself and your company. Also, the Lappish tourism alumni for year 2017 will be announced. The detailed programme and schedule will be confirmed later.


There are numerous projects at the MTI, both academic research projects and development and innovation projects. A list of all projects, both under way and finished, can be found here. Several projects disseminate information through blogs, too:

o Shareable Tourism
o ESVI, Ennakoinnilla esteettömään vieraanvaraisuuteen
o Eläinten hyvinvointi matkailupalveluissa
o Hitaan ajattelun matkustavat laboratoriot
o Startup Lapland
o Animals and Responsible Tourism


Would your organization be interested in cooperation with us? Are you interested in new ideas and views that our students create for various companies and organizations? As MTI alumni you have the great opportunity to recruit our students as trainees, offer commissions for study units, Bachelor’s and Master’s theses, or come and tell your own career story to our current students!

Contact MTI alumni relations coordinators
Minna Sipponen, minna.sipponen(at)
Salla Jutila, salla.jutila(at)



Merry Christmas!

Above Ordinary: Santa, VisitRovaniemi.jpg

Lapland Material Bank: Visit Rovaniemi